International Justice Monitor

A project of the Open Society Justice Initiative

Prosecutor Withdraws Charges Against Kenyatta

Today, International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda formally withdrew charges against Kenyan President Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta. Kenyatta had been facing five counts of crimes against humanity for crimes allegedly committed during the violence that engulfed the country after the December 2007 presidential poll. His charges were originally confirmed in January 2012.

The decision to withdraw charges follows this Wednesday’s judgment of Trial Chamber V(b) in which the judges refused to further adjourn the start of Kenyatta’s trial. In that decision, the judges also ordered the prosecutor to give notice within one week whether she will withdraw the charges or that the evidence collected has improved enough that she is ready to proceed to trial.

In a September 2014 request to indefinitely adjourn the Kenyatta trial, the prosecution said that its evidence is “insufficient to prove Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta’s alleged criminal responsibility beyond reasonable doubt.”

In today’s notice, the prosecutor stated that the evidence had not improved, and “[f]or this reason, and in light of the Trial Chamber’s rejection of the Prosecution’s request for an adjournment until the Government of Kenya complies with its co-operation obligations under the Rome Statute, the Prosecution withdraws its charges.”

In a separate statement from Bensouda concerning the status of the Kenyan government’s cooperation with the investigations in the Kenyatta case, she noted that the trial chamber had found that the government of Kenya had not cooperated with the prosecution’s efforts as required by the Rome Statute, stating:

“Crucial documentary evidence regarding the 2007-2008 post-election violence, including concerning the conduct of the accused, can only be found in Kenya  and is only accessible to the Prosecution through the assistance of the Government of Kenya.  This crucial assistance was ultimately not provided, as confirmed by the recent decision of the Trial Chamber.”

Bensouda also highlighted what she called other “severe challenges,” facing her office, which she said included “a steady and relentless stream of false media report…an unprecedented campaign on social media to expose the identity of protected witnesses…and a concerted and wide-ranging efforts to harass, intimidate and threaten individuals who would wish to be witnesses.”

Bensouda also recorded a more informal video statement, explaining her decision to withdraw charges and saying the decision marked “a dark day for international justice”.

President Kenyatta welcomed the decision to drop the charges,  in a lengthy statement released on Kenya’s Capital FM. He said: “I am excited by this news, which I have awaited ever since the day my name was announced to the world in connection with the case. I am also deeply relieved by this decision, which is overdue by 6 years.”

He added: “The Prosecutor opted to selectively pursue cases in a blatantly biased manner that served vested interests and undermined justice. As a result, the Court has had to pay a steep reputational price, which it will continue to face unless a serious and systemic rethinking of the International Justice framework is undertaken.”

The statement also referred to the ongoing ICC case against Deputy President William Ruto and Joshua arap Sang, a radio journalist, saying he was “confident that they will be vindicated in due course.”

Kenyans for Peace with Truth and Justice, a Nairobi-based coalition of groups that have been pushing for accountability for crimes committed in the 2007-2008 post-election violence, said in a statement that the dropping of charges “brings to an end an important and sad chapter in the search for justice” for the victims. The statement added:

“The circumstances under which the case has been withdrawn raise grave concerns both for the victims of the crimes for which Kenyatta was charged, who have waited for justice for seven years, as well as for victims of future atrocity crimes who may see similar state obstructionism as Kenya has so effectively deployed to thwart the search for justice and the fight against impunity.”




  1. The withdrawal of our Presidents Case is Blessings to Kenya since His duties will be performed better without this baggage.His energy should now focus to fighting Terrorisim that has been a threat to our country.Kenyans should now continue praying for Deputy President and Sang for their cases to be terminated so that we continue building strong and United kenya.
    This case must be withdrawn,for my sincere observation is that perusing it further will perpetually build mistrust between these two ethnic groups that are major in Jubilee Coalition.
    May our Mighty Lord Here our Prayers for the remaining case.

  2. we appreciate it& we r so glad.

  3. Glory b to Almigty God thro Jesus Christ our Lord n savior.Praise b to His Holy Name for this is His doin.Let every one who prayed fo this rejoice n gve thanks to God.Giving thanks is very important.amen.

  4. From The Word Go We Doughted A Quick Investigations That The Office Of The Prosecuter Carried Out And We Knew It Will Result To Miscourage Of Justice. The Big Lose Is To The Accused After Spending Millions Of Legall Fees And Defametions

  5. Great!!!

  6. It is a very sad day for the victims of crims against humanity, justice has been put on the alter n ultimately crucified. The PEV victims are the losers,the rich, elite few have continued to tramp on the poor. It is a tragedy, it is a very sad state of affair. Uhuru Kenyatta has simply managed to do what he set out to do, to rally tribal support behind him, play tribal card, bring on board Ruto, use the two largest communities to climb to power n once on top use the position to scuttle his case. In a rude awakening though, Ruto ‘s case goes on n it does not look very rosy.

  7. Every thing happens with a reason, we love our president en let unite and pray for our DP.

  8. U r crying croc tears, yet u hvn`t done anythng about PEV urself! Do u know even 1 victim u claim 2 care 4? If it wasn`t a case tat was politicaly fxd, ten we cud tok of justice. Hw cme it was 3 guys frm @ party 2 face ocampo? was it a game 2 b playd so as to dvidet sqrly frm @ side? think my friend.


  10. Reply
    Its wonderful and also tell alot about the witness and the evidence the prosecutor procured and relied on

  11. I only hope the prosecution will now focus on the true perpetrators and proponents of the 2007 elections. Investigate the activities of the political parties specifically… ODM and PNU. The leadership structure, finances and activities during that period. It’s the only way.

  12. That is the real meaning of life. All fingers on the hand are not the same. Let us pray for unison

  13. It was the right move.

  14. If this issue was not political, what happened to the other names in the waki envelope, I am a Kenyan and I saw what was happening, jailing the wrong guys does not amount to any justice

  15. yes what happened to the rest of the names in the waki envelope?common sense dictates that since there is no sufficient evidence against president kenyatta that the rest of the people in the list b is notable the prosecutor cites non cooperation as the reason for withdrawal but she has forgotten what she gave as the reason for disharging hussein ali and the time the reason was that two crucial witnesses the prosecution had relied on at pre trial were found to be lying and unreliable and were stood down.these are the same witnesses the prosecutor was to rely on,how come the same reason could not apply in kenyattas her statement the prosecutor did not tell us that the judges found a lot to be desired of her investigation!

  16. Case is not yet over, please! Go on praying for the president!

  17. The big question is who was the one behind organizing post election violence in 2007-2008?
    The main reason being i have not seen any leader or tribal community confessing it.So lets pray for our nation before we see another violence between the rich and the poor.

  18. I knew something was wrong the day Ocampo examined Uhuru in court and ocampo did a poor job The German judge who differed had indicated that these Kenya cases will ashame icc
    Pole to the victims for ocampo took the wrong people to hague i am from Naivasha and ocampo did not come to us he relied on activists in the city

  19. Who funded Mungiki?

  20. I request Kenyan to provide affordable schools of law so that they can stop making irrational comments over things they don’t understand well. you don’t have to be a lawyer to understand the context of the Ocampo thing now causing sleepless nights to our brothers. its all about yes and no you didn’t do it final.

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